Tuesday, 28 July 2015

posh picnicking

The American and I headed home this weekend to attend an event arranged by the village. For the last three years (it might be longer than that, actually) our little chocolate-box village has been raising a huge amount of money to restore the breath-taking 11th Century church tower. Saturday night's celebrations were to mark the completion of the restoration and to say a much deserved thank you to the whole village who have tirelessly made it happen. 


In true English fashion it was decided a posh picnic would take place. It wasn't really a picnic to be honest, more a reason to get dressed up in black tie, long dresses and enjoy a little competition for the best themed table. Naturally my mother decided ours would be The English Country Garden, complete with butler, the finest porcelain and delicious food. Obviously this was an occasion my man and I would not miss. 


Having spent most of the morning laying the table, creating a spectacular flower arrangement, styling a rest room in the garden of Pirton Court and exercising our best calligraphy skills, we were well and truly ready for the celebrations to begin. 


Each table in the marquee was themed and they would later be judged by our independent panel. From 1940s vintage and English rose garden to 1970s and last night of the proms, every table was stiff competent against ours. 

Our ride arrived (we were literally going next door to the neighbours but Stephen has a vintage Rolls Royce so we went for a short spin to arrive in style-complete with salad bowls in the back!). 


We started the evening with canapés and champagne on the lawn and then took up our seats to indulge in the feast whipped up by Mum and Sarah.



Hugo, our delightful butler.



My very beautiful mummy. 






A little magic and sparkle for the pudding course. Mum's marvellous meringues. 


Someone snapped me with my granny, I'm sure she was telling me some amazing stories from her days in London!


Midway through, speeches were made, thanks were given and then a charity auction took place. My brother is somewhat of a whizz in the auctioning world so he took up his position and spent the next half an hour auctioning hand-turned candlesticks, bottle stoppers, pen pots and vases crafted from the oak retrievd from the original tower beams. 



The evening rolled on into the early hours with a swing band, wonderful jazz singer and then a disco. We danced the night away and carried on devouring the cheese. 



A walk was required the next morning to blow away the cobwebs. We headed up to Pirton Tower, a folly on the Earl of Coventry's estate and took in the views, dogs in hand. 




The views are incredible from here and stretch right across to the Cotswolds on the right and the Warwickshire countryside to the left. 




One last stop off before heading back to London was to watch the village cricket match on the West Lawn and enjoy a few creamy scones and cups of tea. 

A whirlwind of a weekend, but one we thoroughly enjoyed. If only we could have stayed a few more days! 

If you find yourself in the Worcestershire countryside, you really ought to take a look at the church in all its shining glory. It even has a golden cockerel glistening down on the village, and a brand new clock face to boot - an incredible achievement from one the smallest and most tight-knit communities I know. 


Monday, 20 July 2015

hotel chantelle

Last week Sophie and I took up our favourite guise of schmoozing guests at the opening night of Marylebone's newest resident, Hotel Chantelle. Organised by the wonderful Just Opened London, we were invited along to test out the new kid on the block and boy did it not disappoint. 

Arriving to a red carpet and an air of excitement we watched as the final carpet layers and decorators left the building before we could enter. Smelling of fresh paint, we made our way up the Art Deco-inspired staircase and onto the main floor. Teeming with bloggers, journos and investors, we felt very excited to be a part of such a great night. 



Hotel Chantelle is a legendary rooftop bar and restaurant in Downtown NYC, and it has now decided to set up camp across the pond. 

We were greeted with huge glasses of crisp wine, zingy cocktails and anything else in between. We were invited to walk around, take it all in and introduce ourselves to our fellow guests. Sophie has a fabulous job at a luxury food publication so was in total heaven. I bumped into old colleagues, people-watched from afar and kept the barman happy. 





Executive chef, Seth Levine, kept us content with the most delicious, and aesthetically pleasing canapés I have ever had the pleasure in tasting. From mini burgers and maple syrup candyfloss chicken to washing lines of Parma ham and quails eggs with caviar, we were treated to a smorgasbord of tantalising treats. 




Just Opened London had invited us down to preview their membership scheme, which we shall be very keen to sign up to. More opening nights, delicious food and drinks and fabulous company? What more could a girl want! 


Sophie and I both agreed we could have danced the night away in the basement club but decided to put on our sensible hats and refrain, it was Tuesday night after all – our mothers will be pleased. We shall certainly be coming back, and dragging our boys with us! 

HC is open seven days a week until late – it is sure to become your new late night hot spot for dancing, giggling and gorging. It will certainly be ours. 

I've been home this weekend with the American so keep your eyes peeled for another post later in the week.


Thursday, 9 July 2015

henley royal regatta

As most of you know, I love a good excuse to dress up, soak up the sun and eat food with my friends, so there was never going to be a reason why I'd miss Henley Royal Regatta this year. 

After a somewhat stressful journey to Henley on Thames, we arrived to blazing sunshine, a multitude of hats and a gaggle of friends from university. We found our gang, who had already set up camp- complete with gazebo- and headed off to the hump-back bridge for a spot of spectating. 


Lauren and I have somehow wound up with rowing fanatics for boyfriends so whilst they happily talked all things blazers, times and strokes, we watched the men and their arms. 




Venturing back to the car and picnic spot we feasted on a fabulous spread and plenty of Pimms and prosecco- all whipped up by Lady Lauren and her little helper, Matt. We were joined by yet more rowing blazers and enjoyed soaking up the fantastic atmosphere. The American and I decided a walk was in order to ease our food babies so we headed all the way down to Temple and the start line. 



On our return we found a selfie stick so took advantage of our new find... I'm sorry, I loved it and will now always use it. 



HRR is a place where you're bound to bump into old and current friends- from school friends to work colleagues, we were greeted by a flutter of kisses and hugs. Clearly Henley is the place to be in early July.

After a final spot of spectating it was time to head back to London and slather ourselves in aloe vera- sorry mum, I am now a shade of lobster. 



HRR is a highlight in the Summer Season's calendar and an event I hope will live on for many years. Whether you enjoy rowing or simply want to kiss a boy in Mahiki (though, Henley really isn't the place for this), I thoroughly recommend heading to Henley on Thames (inside info: girls on the hunt for a rower- leave Mahiki and Chinawhite behind and head into town to The Katherine Wheel, this is where the real men are). 

Next year we will treat ourselves to enclosure tickets and maybe even an overnight stay in a BnB as the trains were truly dreadful. Regardless, Henley Royal Regatta treated us to a wonderful day, filled with sun, friends and world-class sport. I thoroughly recommend going.

I am now back in St. Albans for the week, so look out for some sunny pictures of my aunt's beautiful garden on my Instagram page. 

I hope you're all enjoying the week so far and haven't been trapped by the strike. 


Thursday, 2 July 2015

fego & roses

My man has been away in America for the last two weeks so having picked him up from his flight and had a quick nap, we decided to go for a refreshing walk and a spot of (very) late brunch. 

I have written about Fego Caffe before as Sarah, Mel and I used to go last year on Saturday mornings in Marlow. Luckily, there is one on St. John's High Street too so we stopped off here for a rejuvenating feed. He went for huevo rancheros and I stuck with an old faithful, eggs benny. 




Having had our fill we wandered to Regent's Park, watched the Sunday cricket matches, football practices and children's birthday parties under the blazing sun and blue sky. From there we wound our way to Queen Mary's Garden which is overflowing with roses. I.was.in.heaven. 




Apparently, there are over 12,000 roses growing in this garden from 85 varieties. The sight really is something to behold. 



Honestly, I was a kid in a sweet shop (please excuse my very badly draped cardigan, it felt a lot chicer whilst walking around). 



There's also a little rockery with a pond in the middle. You can walk in between the plants and over footbridges to get to it- a bit like walking amongst fairies and their homes. 

My little fairy went for an explore of his own.



The piece de resistance though, is the central garden. Circular in design, the garden is framed by a pergola which is literally dripping with roses. 



It is beautiful! If only I had a garden with this. 


I thoroughly recommend heading to Regent's Park before they go over, though hopefully they will have a second burst of life after they've been dead-headed. I suggest going before mid-July to see the best of the blooms. 

I'm off to Henley this weekend for a spot of picnicking, dressing up and spectating the rowing, naturally. 

I hope you're all enjoying this glorious weather! Let's hope it stays.